Why does FFA refuse to expand the W-League?

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It has been 10 years since the Central Coast Mariners last competed in the W-League, it is time they got another chance at the W-League.

The Mariners were one of eight founding members of the ever-growing W-League but unfortunately withdrew after two seasons in the competition due to funding issues.

The club was the starting place for some of the Matildas playing group including Kyah Simon, Caitlin Foord and Michelle Heyman.

The club was competitive and even came second in the 2009 season, only to be eliminated in the semi-final.

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The club started to draw a following, having played the majority of their second season at Central Coast Stadium, but withdrew from the 2010/11 season due to financial concerns.

Since then the club has lodged three appeals to the FFA to have a team participate in the W-League, only to get rejected every time, most recently being in 2018.

The Central Coast area boasts a large support network behind a W-League team bid with 3713 people signing the club’s petition last year.

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The club already has a successful academy side with grades spanning every age group. The first team competes in NSW NPL 2 is coached by Dan Barrett who was most recently the Western Sydney Wanderers W-League head coach.

The addition of a Mariners team would even out the W-League’s number of teams to 10 and the new side would increase professional opportunities for elite players.

It would give an opportunity to younger players and emerging Matildas, who are struggling to get first-team football, to get regular playing time and improve the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup bid by widening the country’s talent pool.

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It seems everyone is behind a Central Coast team competing in the W-League except for FFA. The FFA does not see an expansion to 10 teams as a priority, as stated in their response to the Mariners back in 2018.

The continuous rejections by the FFA does not make sense as it goes against their 2015 Whole of Football Plan.

On page 87 it states, “At a minimum, every top tier club in Australia should have an A-League team and a W-League team.”

There are 11 A-League teams and only nine W-League teams this season.

Expanding the W-League should be a top priority for the FFA but the question is, will the Mariners be given a team?

Feature image credit: Central Coast Mariners

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James Watts
James Watts
Love everything about football, even when your team loses after being 2-0 up in a certain Grand Final!

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